Elephant Gym’s star has been on the rise for a while now, (especially after the boys in the band finished their military services in 2016), both at home and internationally with our beloved Topshelf Records taking on the band last year and re-releasing their first album Angle as well as EPs Balance and the outstanding masterpiece that is Work.
Underwater shows the band stretching those creative muscles again. On the one hand there are lots for older fans to enjoy, there’s the bass-driven jazz/funk, there’s the brash guitar filling out the space, there’s a butt wiggling groove. Title track “Underwater” is a magnificent example of all of this. The way the bass and guitar intertwine on this track is masterful and rather sexy. The penultimate track “Walk” sees the band doing some more down-tempo lounge funk work that we saw on the Work EP track “Celebrate”. I really like these moments when the band get into a groove that’s poppy and fun.
Then there are the vocal collaborations as seems to be almost requisite these days in east-asian mathy. The listener’s personal take on these will be coloured by the vocal style in question. The track “Bad Dreams” featuring Sowut is a laid back hip-hop slice that we’ve seen from Jizue and Toe in recent years too. Both “Quilt” and “Moonset” are nicely done numbers that sound like true collaborations.
Whilst this album is a little scatterbrained as far as style and feel go, it is still a great piece of work from the band that are only getting better. This one is well worth your time and your money.